Originally Posted by OSKIE!!!
I remember talking to you about this. I would almost guarantee that your competition is low-balling offers and then when the work is well underway asking for EA's as they know the customer has little choice at that point. Sucks but I've seen it happen!
Change orders, when warranted are part of contracts, once awarded, but most municipalities and water districts cover their asses regarding additional charges above and beyond the contract terms with cleverly authored specifications which exclude almost any avenue for additional charges, ("contractor to verify pre-existing conditions", "all information is based on best available data", "Contractor to verify all dimensioning prior to bid","engineer assumes no responsibility of information provided by others") are some which can "bite you in the ass. What we are encountering are companies which are venturing into our market and have little or no experience with the costs associated with the industry. Stringent testing requirements, start up costs, training costs, and safety requirements which are not as enforced in the residential markets. The other type of contractors we are now facing are the "mom and pop" operations which have little or no GC costs associated with their operation.
To give an example: we just bid on a water treatment plant in Elizabeth a few weeks ago. We were 4th. The winning bidders' price was more than $370.000 less than our bid. We estimated the cost without profit margin to be higher than his bid. Bidders #2,and 3 (which BTW have been in "our" market for decades) were both within $40,000 of our bid.
WTF is he doing? Illegal labor? Using Legos in lieu of brick?
Oh well, back to estimating. Gotta sharpen that pencil.